Fifty-five new cases were reported in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) over the weekend, of which 24 were reported in Prescott-Russell. However, the number of active cases in the region dropped by 47 during the same period, with 221 on Monday compared to 276 on Friday.
Hospitalizations also dropped over the weekend, from 28 on Friday to 22 by Friday afternoon. An additional patient was removed from intensive care, bringing the total to six across the region.
Meanwhile, figures from the EOHU showed April was the worst month so far for new cases. At the time of publication, 934 cases were confirmed during April, surpassing previous record-holder January’s 847 cases. Case counts have steadily risen month-on-month since February recorded a relatively low 311 cases, driven in part by the more contagious variants of concern in the region.
EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said there appeared to be a week-long delay between a drop in community cases, and a subsequent decrease in hospitalizations and intensive care admissions. He said the region appeared to be headed in the right direction.
“Hopefully the cases will continue to go in a downward trend, as we move towards the next couple of weeks,” he said. “This is good news, and the rates are flattening moving forward.”
A stay-at-home order remains in Ontario, while schools continue to be taught remotely. The order is due to end during the week of May 20, but Dr. Roumeliotis said he asked for it to be extended to include the Victoria Day long weekend.
Vaccine rates are expected to rise in the coming weeks, with the increase in supply of existing doses, as well as the arrival of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, which require only one dose. However, Dr. Roumeliotis said he expected some health measures to remain until most of the population had received their first and second doses.
“It’s important, even if we have one vaccine in us, to maintain physical distancing, and we maintain masking,” he said. “It’s not going to be until a significant proportion of the population has received two doses that we will be able to roll back those specific measures.”
Staff cases were reported in outbreaks at Foyer St-Viateur Nursing Home in Limoges, Residence Cartier and Caressant Care Nursing Home in Bourget, and Residence St-Mathieu in Hammond.
Of the 221 active cases in the EOHU region on Monday, 106 were active in Prescott-Russell communities, including 46 in Clarence-Rockland, 16 in Alfred-Plantagenet, 12 in Russell, 10 in Hawkesbury, 9 in The Nation, 8 in Champlain, 3 in Casselman, and 2 in East Hawkesbury.